The two VS constructions in Rumanian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rumanian has a productive alternation between verb-subject and subject-verb word order, as in languages such as Spanish (Silva-Corvalán 1981) and Israeli Hebrew (Givón 1976). Quantitative study reveals that there are two distinct types of VS constructions in Rumanian. One of these is similar to the presentative construction used in languages with fairly rigid SV order (such as French) and is used when three factors hold: the subject must be indefinite, there must be preverbal material, and the verb must be intransitive and of a certain semantic type. The other type of VS construction resembles that used in languages with fairly free word order (such as 17th-century Spanish; My hill 1984) and does not require that any individual property necessarily hold. The present paper shows how quantitative data may be used to distinguish between two types of constructions which appear superficially to be identical.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-350
Number of pages20
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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